Every little town or village has it’s own freak, often living in an old farmhouse with a barn and a neglected garden, home to a rusty scrap-heap. He doesn’t talk to the neighbors and when the local brass band knocks for a donation his door keeps shut. Small children in the back seats of posh SUV’s flatten their noses on the side windows while Mommy tells them to stay away from this place. If one hears something from this man, it’s mostly hammering or a screaming buzzsaw late at night.
But sometimes there’s a different hammering emerging from the barn or the garage. It’s the hammering of an old combustion engine, allowed to breathe in and out freely. The sound of two or four-stroke explosions, unmuted by db-killers or even silencers. Then, the barn door opens and an old racing motorcycle is pushed out, just to disappear again in the back of a van.
The so-called freak leaves for an event like the BELGIAN CLASSIC TT in Gedinne to meet a bunch of like-minded, so-called freaks from all over Europe. They meet to be petrolheads for a few days and give their old bikes the beans. They squeeze themselves in old Harro leathers from back in the days (often in questionable color schemes) and have the fun of their lives on Seeley Nortons, Aermacchi Harley-Davidsons or even 50cc racing Kreidlers straight out of hell (60kg, 125mph, not exactly your average commuter scooter). A boxer-engined, homebrew sidecar racer waits alongside a splendidly build bevel drive Ducati and both just wait to be let loose on the 5.06 kilometer track. No shiny paddocks here, only grass, gravel and trailers. No fancy race control lighting, only a bloke waving a checkered flag. Agostini or the precious production racer are as far away from this place as the moon. This is simply first-class motorcycle folklore, successfully organized by the CRMB (Classic Racing Motorcycles Belgium) since 2006.
Although there’s no long straight in the circuit it is considered as fast. Winding up beautifully between trees and fields it even crosses the village of Gedinne itself. Spectators are more or less free to wander around the track so no worries to get a good view of the action. Competitors start in nine different classes which means lots and lots of old bikes, everything you can think of is there to be trashed.
Events like these tend to awaken the inner Mike Hailwood that slumbers in every single one of us. Simply looking at the bikes on display and on the track makes us consider what cheap mule could be, over the next winter, turned into a racer that qualifies to participate in one of the many classes an categories. Wasn’t a friend of you talking about an old XS rotting in his uncle’s barn? Or the small ad about that old BMW that literally yells your name every time you take a look at the local paper… you don’t need that mouth-watering, Tonti-framed Guzzi to begin with anyway.
Events like these remind us why we deal with that old scrap while the others skip trough the driving modes on their palanquins. Because only the old stuff makes you feel like riding and taming a machine. Despite the roadside-leatherman-repairs, the questionable performance of your drum brakes, your mushy frame or the ability to recite the first name of every nut and bolt. Here, in the midst of all these people with their freakish machines you feel perfectly at ease. Because you too, despite your regular job and your regular home, are a bit of a freak with your nuisance-to-the-neighbourhood bike and your loud pipes.
The village of Gedinne is close to the french border and approximately 90 miles from the german border, so you can make a day-trip out of it. Our friends from the isles could consider a week-end trip, lots of beautiful, windy roads in the area. Oh, and don't miss on the Belgian chips...
This year's edition is held on 18th, 19th & 20th of August 2017 in Gedinne.
Get more information on CRMB's WEBSITE